The inside scoop on the book world

IN THESE CHANGING TIMES Thomas Harris‘ onetime publisher will now handle Tom Clancy: Carole Baron, the former Dell publisher who took over Penguin Putnam’s Dutton imprint two years ago, has just been made president of the flagship G.P. Putnam’s Sons imprint, whose list also includes Patricia Cornwell and Robert B. Parker. That means Baron is stepping into at least one of the several sets of shoes that Phyllis Grann is leaving behind; the reigning queen of commercial fiction moves on from her post as Penguin’s CEO and president at the end of the year. ”There are a number of Putnam authors whom I’ve known for years, and others I’ve been fans of, so I think there’s a huge compatibility here,” says Baron, who now has the unenviable job of keeping brand-name authors like Cornwell and Clancy happy: Both have ”key man” clauses in their contracts, allowing them to leave the house if Grann is no longer there. ”It should be quite a busy little January,” observes one agent. Michael Ovitz, who represents Clancy, says his client is too busy to think about leaving: ”He’s not exercising the key man clause [now], but he loves Phyllis, so we should talk in about a year.” Cornwell’s agent, ICM honcho Esther Newberg, says that all bets are off: ”One of the reasons that you have a clause like this is to allow you to keep your options open for an author of this magnitude.”… In other personnel news, former Harper’s deputy editor and novelist Colin Harrison has moved over to the book publishing world, taking a senior-editor position at Scribner to help beef up Scribner’s narrative nonfiction. ”I realized I missed the action of working with writers,” says Harrison. One of his specialties at Harper’s was editing long articles by the likes of David Foster Wallace, Bob Shacochis, and Scott Anderson.